Third Party Rights and Trademark Registration in Ethiopia

Trademarks are a crucial aspect of business and commerce, serving as a means of distinguishing a company’s goods or services from those of its competitors. However, there are certain circumstances in which a trademark cannot be registered, such as when it infringes on the rights of a third party. In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) is responsible for examining and registering trademarks, ensuring that trademarks are not registered if they infringe on the rights of others. This article will examine the specific grounds for refusal of trademark registration on the basis of third party rights in Ethiopia.

The following are the four main grounds on which a trademark may be refused registration due to third party rights in Ethiopia:

Identical or Confusingly Similar Trademarks: A trademark shall not be registered in Ethiopia if it is identical or nearly identical to an earlier trademark of another person in respect of the same or closely related goods or services. This is to avoid any confusion or deception among consumers in Ethiopia, as they may mistake one company’s goods or services for those of another.

Well-Known Trademarks in Ethiopia: A trademark shall not be registered in Ethiopia if it is identical or confusingly similar to a well-known trademark established by use in Ethiopia for identical or similar goods or services. This protects the rights of the owner of the well-known trademark and ensures that consumers in Ethiopia are not misled.

Registered Trademarks for Different Goods or Services in Ethiopia: A trademark shall not be registered in Ethiopia if it is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark that is registered in Ethiopia for goods or services that are not identical or similar to those for which registration is sought. This is to prevent damage to the owner of the registered trademark in Ethiopia, as the use of the new trademark in relation to different goods or services may indicate a connection that is likely to harm the owner’s interests.

Infringement of Literary or Artistic Rights in Ethiopia: A trademark shall not be registered in Ethiopia if it contains anything that may be understood as the characteristic title of another person’s protected literary or artistic rights or another person’s right to a photograph or design without their written consent. This protects the rights of authors, artists, and photographers in Ethiopia, and ensures that their works are not used without their permission.

In conclusion, the refusal of trademark registration on the grounds of third party rights is an important aspect of trademark law in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) takes these grounds into consideration when examining and registering trademarks, ensuring that trademarks are not registered if they infringe on the rights of others in Ethiopia. It is important for businesses in Ethiopia to be aware of these grounds and to ensure that their trademarks do not fall under any of the categories outlined above.